Tunes of toil: Why your firm needs a music strategy

Music can energise our brain for challenging mental and physical situations
Large organisations are constantly seeking new ways to engage with their employees, and to use technology to build a better culture and a stronger sense of community. One solution to the perennial problem of engaging employees both in the office and out, however, is often overlooked: music.
So why does music, delivered through a corporate channel, work?


Neuroscientific studies have shown that music is capable of activating the oldest reward centres of our brain. It can energise us for challenging mental and physical situations, including work and exercise (as we know from the gym). It can also relax and soothe us.
Music is not any kind of magic elixir for persuasion. Hearing a song will not convince someone to do something that they do not want to do. But it is an essential and too often overlooked factor in how we react to an environment.
In business, music strategy is about understanding how to maximise an auditory environment for a specific setting, whereby an individual in that space is comfortable, relaxed and engaged. By paying attention to the culture of the business and the demographic of the workers, you can create something truly engaging. The music you play needs to be carefully researched – you need people to want to listen, after all.


Imagine a company radio station, with all the content delivered in real time, and with live programming from company events to keep people in touch with daily developments (on top of your carefully-selected music).
The psychology behind this is an important part of its success. The brand is telling a story, so it has to know how to tell that story well. This means knowing the listener well too.
The music can be a vehicle for sharing all the important and serious information you need to communicate, but it can also be cheeky and maybe a little bit irreverent.
In the same way that variety in music encourages engagement, you need to make sure you have a good balance of other content. This can range from corporate announcements and the results of staff five-a-side football matches, to celebrations of individual achievements and employee rewards.


As with any successful relationship, you have to create a rapport and establish mutual trust for it to work. It must also be interactive.
The people who are listening need to have real influence over the output. In many ways, the company co-creates the channel with its employees so they both own the content. When you hear your colleagues’ names on the channel or information relevant to you, you feel more connected.
It also evolves like any other relationship. It’s a dynamic interaction and the relationship is cemented as the channel becomes embedded in the corporate culture.
The benefits of understanding the potential influence of music on behaviour and thought processes are significant and immediate. By careful application of music strategy, we can change our work environments for the better.